Increase in student use of health center

More than 1,100 students visited the Student Health Center during the fall 2009 semester, an increase over previous semesters, said Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, executive director of Student Wellness.

The Student Health Center, located on the bottom floor of DaSilva Hall in the Residence Village, is a place where any student may go to receive care for minor injuries or illnesses.

According to Hutchinson, the Student Health Center provides physician services several days a week.

“A physician is on campus three times a week to provide basic assessment and treatment to ill students,” Hutchinson said. “The locations and hours of Student Health Services are posted on St. John’s Central for student convenience. The hours of the physician and nutritionist are also posted on this same page.”

The office is also serviced by several nurses and support staff members.

According to the Student Health Service’s Web site, the office also dispenses information to students regarding immunizations and physical examinations that are required before each academic year, as well as information about various public health initiatives.

In addition to physician services, Hutchinson said that the Health Center focuses on several public health initiatives each semester, including “raising awareness of national medical issues including programs on healthy heart, women’s health issues, H1N1 prevention, vaccination clinics, and alcohol and drug education, to name a few.”

Students showed support for the services provided by the center, especially the
convenience that it provides.

“It was very helpful,” Freshman Michael Zarella said.” The lady in there was very nice. I would rather go there [Student Health Services] than go to the ER. I would never want to deal with insurance policies and stuff like that.”

Some students said they felt that the center was too busy to provide adequate care.

“It seemed like they didn’t have enough employees to deal with students. They were overwhelmed,” freshman John Kenny said.

Others said they were afraid that the center is not in a position to deal with serious problems.

“They [Student Health Services] didn’t do anything for me,” said freshman Brennan Gaims. “I had [many] symptoms and they told me I had a normal cold. I think it is helpful for little things but when a person has larger problems there isn’t a whole lot that they can do.”

However, students agree that it’s better than the emergency room.

“It’s conveniently located,” Kenny said. “The ER runs up your medical bills.”

Freshman Katie L’Esperance said, “I feel like it would be less crowded. It would be easier [to go to Student Health Services than to the ER].”